Osmosis and Potato Chips

Topics: Osmosis, Concentration, Diffusion Pages: 2 (785 words) Published: September 9, 2014
Osmosis is the movement of water from an area of high concentration to an area of low concentration across a semi permeable membrane. An osmotic system is established when a semi-permeable membrane is placed between two solutions. In this biological systems context, osmosis is the exchange of water between the potato cell and the surrounding medium of varying sucrose concentrated solutions, with the plasma membrane being the semi- permeable membrane. Because water molecules have kinetic energy, they are constantly moving around in gaseous or liquid form, moving randomly from one place or another. The greater the concentration of water molecules in a system or solution, the greater the total kinetic energy, and the higher its water potential. This means, that as the concentration of glucose increases in a solution, the concentration of water decreases, lessening the solution's water potential, and lessening its ability to move between solutions by osmosis. Relating this to the potato chips: basically, as the concentration of glucose in each solution increases, the water in that solution is less able to move to the potato as there is a higher concentration of water in the potato chip than in the highly concentrated sucrose solution, causing water from the potato to move to the solution, thereby achieving a percentage loss in mass. At concentrations such as 0.0molL-1 and 0.9molL-1, the concentration gradient is steeper; therefore the rate of diffusion is quicker. For the potato chips in the hypertonic 0.9 sucrose solution, the concentration of water molecules in the potato chip cells is greater than the water molecules in the 0.9 sucrose solution. This means that through the process of osmosis, water molecules will move from the potato cell through its semi permeable membrane and into the sucrose solution, therefore resulting in a percentage loss in mass of the potato chips as depicted by my results (a loss of XXX%), thereby justifying why the potato chips in the...
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